Yet Another Lever Project (with a weird twist)

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#1: Post by karl_a_hall »

While I've been failing in showing the progress on my other lever project (see old posts) I've had it together, pulled shots, and now pulling it apart to go super-instrumented on it.

BUT, part of the reason I'm pulling that one apart and using it as a learning opportunity for even more controls experiments I want to do (I'm a mechanical engineer who has done IOT and connected controlled machine+factory builds at a grand scale) that are specific to espresso is because I actually managed to buy yet another lever project. Interestingly, it is the same one from this thread: Thinking about a vintage Italcrem 101 I guess two folks put down deposits but never could get it, but I managed to get it from the guy for real.

Anywho... it is in incredible shape. I bet no more than 10 shots thru it ever. Literally everything is basically coming apart as if it was new. It did sit with water in it so I'm pulling it all apart and the springs have a fair bit of gunk all over them so I'm sure the boiler needs dipped after the chrome stuff come out of the citric bath. I'll powder coat the frame and some of the metal panels... and polish the chrome again. And I'll do a sprect design sort of treatment to it, I hope.

But anywho... I'll work to keep this thread up to date all the way to the finish unlike my other project. Sorry about that. Good to see you all again! If anyone has tips or good experiences (or bad) I would love to hear them!

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karl_a_hall (original poster)

#2: Post by karl_a_hall (original poster) »

Ok, first question... does anyone keep this safety device or switch to a modern valve?

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#3: Post by civ »

Merry Xmas. =-)
karl_a_hall wrote: ... does anyone keep this safety device ...
That's not the boiler's safety valve.

The safety valve is the one further on in the photo.
The one with a pull ring on the end of the stem.

What you are asking about is the boiler's vacuum valve.

The weight on top is to prevent it from sealing before actually reaching a certain pressure.
It probably uses a weight because the the boiler's large capacity. (?)
The holes on top vent steam till the pressure set by the weight is reached.

But it seems to be missing the stem which holds the seal/o'ring.
It's is probably inside the boiler.



NB: great project.

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karl_a_hall (original poster)

#4: Post by karl_a_hall (original poster) »

Thanks CIV. I knew the other was also a safety device... I was thinking/assuming this was some other safety device bc it is a gas machine also but now realize my error. I'm thinking of getting something less rudimentary now that you rightly point out it does function as the vac breaker. Does anyone know of replacement parts for this specific "valve"?

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#5: Post by civ »

karl_a_hall wrote: Thanks ...
You're welcome.
karl_a_hall wrote: ... some other safety device bc it is a gas machine ...
There's a safety device (valve and thermocoulple) in any burner train
If you are using gas for this machine, do have it checked out by someone who is qualified to do it.
karl_a_hall wrote: ... thinking of getting something less rudimentary ...
I don't think you need to change it.
Just look inside the boiler for the missing stem and put it together again.

A vacuum valve's consumable/weak point is the seal, usually an 'o' ring.
It's best to replace the original with a silicone one which last much longer.

The rest of the breaker (unless someone went at it with a hammer) is eternal and does not need to be changed.

Here's a link to a *.pdf file at Iberital, you will probably find most needed/available parts there. ... GAGGIA.pdf

Check p. 511 for the Italcrem 101 parts.

In page 528 you have the gas kit diagramme.
Item 7 (part #3382) is the gas safety valve and item 8 (part #1439) is the thermocouple for the safety valve.

Once you ID the parts you need for your project by description/part number, you can look for them in any dealer.



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#6: Post by mgwolf »

userpix/5095_16d70487-e07f-4370-b6f2-79 ... 585NF.jpeg

This large round thing on your boiler, whatever it is, looks like it may be lead, in which case you may want to replace it with something else.

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karl_a_hall (original poster)

#7: Post by karl_a_hall (original poster) »

Wow CIV, thanks a million.

And yes it is lead... which doesn't seem awesome to me. I can melt the lead off safely and maybe replace with brass or something of equal weight.

Either way... the inside of the boiler didn't have anything in it. And was AMAZINGLY clean. Blew my mind. The bits you see are loose and rinsed right out. I'm still dipping it to get it perfect, but I'm amazed. Now to find the boiler gasket and the heater element gaskets...

Thanks again everyone.

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karl_a_hall (original poster)

#8: Post by karl_a_hall (original poster) »

One follow on CIV... I am planning on removing the gas option permanently. So no worries there. About the vac breaker... I don't have any of the other parts than the weight and the screw in stub looking thing. I'm struggling to find a diagram of that in the catalogue to get the parts I need. Would a simple 3/8" safety valve (like from espresso parts) solve the issue of both safety as well as vac breaker?

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#9: Post by civ »

karl_a_hall wrote: ... thanks ...
You're welcome.
karl_a_hall wrote: ... it is lead...
It does not come in contact with anything you will be drinking so it is absolutely safe.
Clean it properly and paint it with high temperature epoxy if seeing it that way bothers you.
karl_a_hall wrote: ... inside of the boiler didn't have anything in it.
Ahh ...

Unless you can find the missing part, you'll have to get a suitable replacement.
I have not seen a vacuum valve in the parts list from the *.pdf I linked, not for the Italcrem 101 or the other models.

So carefully take off the rest of the valve and measure the threads, it is probably a standard 1/4" BSP.
There are many different models out there, get the heftier type and change the OEM 'o' ring for a silicone one.



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#10: Post by IamOiman »

For many parts on machines they are universal and can fit many different models and brands.

I would guestimate 90-95% of machines use 3/8" BSP for the safety valve, coincidentally the same size as most wobbler weight fittings. The wobbler weight itself is acting for two functions, the vacuum valve and a pressure controller. The vacuum valve and a modern pressurestat can certainly replace it, though some people elect to keep the wobbler weight to keep the machine's originality.

If I have the space I usually use a t-fitting to fit the safety valve and vacuum valve to one boiler fitting, this pic from my President. I use a 1/4F to 3/8M reduction fitting for the vacuum valve as it is usually 1/4", but of course other sizes exist if you can source them.

Another example on my Mercurio. Note the safety valve is placed where the wobbler weight originally was, and I am using a 1/4" T-fitting for the safety valve and the pipe that goes to the p-stat. Boilers often have extra fittings/holes that are capped off, and I am using one of those extra fittings for the T-fitting.

I am not certain on the boiler gasket but it may be compatible with a Gaggia D90/E90 boiler. I would need a better pic of the flange on both sides to confirm. If it is not a common size you can make your own gasket if needed.
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